Tag Archives: party

Little Ole Wine Drinker Me

Since my teen years December has been a big month for me. Not just because of Christmas and the festivities/work do’s/New Years Eve, but because it is also my birthday on the 19th. This isn’t a shameless plug for me to receive more presents, but just a way of me passing on a few tips for the party season from a former party girl who was always prepared for this busy month.

You should be dancing yeah!

You should be dancing yeah!

Don’t get me wrong I haven’t hung up my dancing shoes yet but just opted for a smaller heel, a thicker denier in my tights and a more appropriate skirt length. The stack of invitations for cool parties that I received in my 20s have now been replaced with invitations to Nativity plays, tickets for the Panto and the odd night out with friends. This odd night out is never a last minute thing, but takes a massive amount of organising with babysitters at a premium and everyone feeling a little bit half-hearted about spending money or making the effort to get ‘dolled up’.

The Teen Years

The Decembers of my teen years were filled with cheap booze that was either begged to be bought from older siblings with our naive tipple of choice being Thunderbird. Or something that we found in the back of our parents drink cabinets, normally a neglected bottle of Ouzo and resulted in a lot of hair holding and up-chucking between friends. Nights out were at random house parties which were organised after the parents had gone out, or local nightclubs both of which required either public transport or a lift from your Dad which reduced the glam factor a tad. Still, you didn’t need more than a few vodka and Coke’s to feel tipsy and by being an experimental smoker you didn’t really inhale, so the hangover was fairly minimal.

My Twenties

I started my 20s living in Brighton with one of my best friends. Following a fairly hedonistic summer living on a shoestring, I returned to London to start my career in the Media Industry. I worked at a newspaper and for a time I worked on a supplement covering the dotcom explosion of internet start-ups that were making millionaires overnight. These companies were splashing their massive budgets on extravagant parties that we were invited to every night of the week, if we could handle it. Each party meant free booze, free food and enough gimmicks to ensure they made the press the following day. At one party Boney M performed alongside roller skating barmaids squirting vodka into people’s mouths from Ghostbuster type get-ups. My Brighton bestie moved to Ibiza and opened a bar which became a regular holiday destination for me and my friends. But numerous nights out and non-relaxing holidays can take their toll on your health and bank balance. I had more plastic in my wallet than Barbie and as I approached my late 20s and found my fella, I was ready to slow things down a bit in the name of starting a family.

The more sedate thirties

I will be 37 this December and as much as that makes me say the number in a questioned tone, as I really don’t think like a 37-year-old, I am fine with it. Having spent my early 30s knee-deep in nappies and formula, nights out were extremely rare. They were often a fine line between me and my friends binge drinking our way through too much wine just because we had a night off from bottle feeding our babies, or instead consisted of us giving up on trying to tame the crazed look of a mother on the edge and resulted in us heading to the cinema to eat our body weight in Ben & Jerry’s. With my twins now 5 and my eldest approaching 9, my late 30s have meant that we now have more babysitter options and more opportunity for nights out. Me and my friends still have that feeling of having escaped a secure facility, but quite often we can pick a decent bottle of vino, partake in soft drinks alongside alcoholic ones and with hangovers stretching out over at least two days now, a nice meal or trip to the theatre is much more enticing than it used to be.

So my 5 points of advice this December would be;

1. Try and remember how bad hangovers really are when any type of shot is suggested during the evening.
2. If you are invited to a party, don’t dress like a parent who doesn’t get out much – no Xmas themed outfits, novelty earrings and if it is a house party, still wear shoes and resist the urge to take slippers or pad about in your socks.
3. Keep it light, don’t be a whinge-drinker or an over-sharer. A few vinos and some women feel the need to go into every gory detail about their marriage/childbirth/financial situation. This is a rare night out, much nicer to indulge in a bit of ‘stars in bars’ instead.
4. Think carefully about whether to update your Facebook status after too many drinks, this also applies to uploading photos of you and your friends doing your ‘sexy pout’, it often isn’t sexy but instead looks like you might have Bells Palsy.
5. Make sure you surround yourself with the people who make you laugh until there is no sound coming out, when a look between you can convey everything you want to say and you wake up the next day not filled with regret but with a big smile on your face.

Happy December !


The Unexpected Hits You Between The Eyes

I am really looking forward to this weekend, I haven’t much planned, but after the stress of last Saturday I am looking forward to a sense of calm returning to my life. Last Saturday was my older brothers surprise 40th birthday party, a surprise party that had been my brainchild back in January. I was warned that it might be tricky to organise, impossible to keep secret and receive an unwelcome response from the birthday boy, oh well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

Even though his birthday wasn’t until November I wanted to get the ball rolling early on as I figured a lot of his friends would also be doing the same celebrations for their 40th’s. I recruited the help of my sister-in-law and his two closest friends as my co-conspirators for the guest list. I scoured his Facebook friend list for clues of who he was in contact with from school, then looked at my Facebook friends list and reasoned that you probably wouldn’t want to invite half the people on there, as the last time you spoke was in Chemistry class and that was a vague memory. Luckily, my co-conspirators were able to advise me on who would be welcome and who would be just a bit random. As one of them pointed out, the last thing my brother would want would be a rubbish school reunion by resurrecting the ex-school friends who he was glad to see the back of. After much deliberation we had a guest list; a chosen few school friends, a group of lads from Basingstoke he hadn’t seen for a long time but were greatly missed in his life and our close friends and family. My parents were providing their mental/physical/financial help with the organising and we decided on our local football club as a venue to go with the ruse of ‘my son’s football fundraising party’ that would be our cover. Things were shaping up, invitations were sent with a heavily stated ‘keep quiet’ approach and we were receiving lots of keen acceptances.

The venue with a bar was booked, guest list sorted, next was decor, catering and music. I would be lying if I didn’t admit how much I was enjoying the organisation of it all, I hadn’t yet resorted to wearing a hands free phone kit on my ear and carrying a clipboard, but I was quite tempted to. The venue had a speaker system that would give us the option of bringing in our own music to save on a DJ. The moment I found this out I could feel my inner control freak stretching its hand out screaming ‘me, me!’. This was what all those years of mixed tapes had been leading up to, the hours spent recording the top 40 on my cassette deck my finger poised over the pause button, timing it just right to avoid any speaking between the delectable sounds of Bros and Wham!

Perfecting the mixed tape

Obviously recording music is a bit more straightforward these days with IPods and downloads, but I still became a bit too obsessed with the task of creating my playlist. I figured I needed 4 hours of music, so I divided each hour into how I thought the music would be received; first hour would be guests arriving/my brothers ta-da surprise, second hour would be mingling/chatting/catching up, third hour would be eating/drinking/getting merry, with the fourth and final hour bringing dancing round handbags/tearful goodbyes. I refused any help and when hubby assisted me with some of the downloads, I was incensed when he inserted a few of his own suggestions such as Dennis Waterman ‘I could be so good to you’, apparently this ‘sing the theme tune’ is a classic sing-a-long for lads, I wasn’t convinced but let it go with the promise he would own up to it on the night if questioned.

The day drew nearer, my parents and sister-in-law had the hardest job of getting my brother to the fake event without him finding out the truth. My sister-in-law explained that whenever he discussed the night she made a cup of tea and only spoke from the kitchen so he couldn’t read her expression. There were some minor hiccups on the run-up, bizarrely there was a shortage of helium in our local area so I had to source a balloon creator from out of the area to come and decorate our venue. I’m not sure if our local youths have been using our helium up as I can’t say I’ve heard highly pitched youngsters hanging around the high street lately.

The night arrived, all the guests were in place, it now felt like a military operation with my sister-in-law sending me coded messages while we all stood in the dark waiting their arrival. Finally, the door opened, the light came on and my brother, although visually shocked, casually removed his jacket and waved at the room as if it happened every week. But thankfully he was pleased, he was definitely surprised but he was happy to have the party thrown in his honour.

Film themed birthday cake

The party was a success, everyone was pleased to mingle, lots of drink and food was consumed. My music list was, as expected, not appreciated and I had to physically stop myself from asking people to pay attention to the smooth links of each hand-picked track. Even Dennis Waterman received a good, as well as confused, reaction. The night ended with my brother and his mates with arms around shoulders shouting along to Chas N Dave, with my brother looking happy. Mission accomplished. I am now available for hire; weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, I’m very reasonable and I do a wicked playlist!